Sunday, March 24, 2019

Super Savings Sunday: Money Saving Weekly Recap

I thought about putting up a Frugal Friday post last week, but finally decided against it for two reasons.  One:  I just didn't have that much to report, honestly, as with the kids home during Spring Break all I ended up doing was running around trying to keep the damage contained, especially on the son's end of the spectrum (cornstarch disaster in the kitchen, Parmesan cheese disaster the same night...times that times all of Spring Break and you'll see why I was just chasing after him all week long) and then this last week I made up for it by running around like an absolute mad woman trying to get some of the masses of things caught up or done that needed it.

As a side tangent, enjoy the pictures of Prince.  I've found that he has become quite good at a new sport.  I'm sure a lot of you saw "planking" when it was a fad, well, Prince has started "Pillowing".  Up top shows one of his usual sleeping positions, where he finds a nice cloth object, rearranges it so it's a nice pillow and he falls asleep.  

Now this is the opposite end of the spectrum, where he finds any object that is elevated off the floor that he can fit his head on and uses it as a pillow.  I find it hysterical myself, but I'm easily amused ;).

Right, so let's get to the craziness that has been going on around here...

1.  Now that my oven is fixed, I have a bunch of things I had been ready to bake that ended up in a holding pattern until I could finally bake again, so during Spring Break I made a HUGE batch of blueberry muffins using the fresh blueberries I'd bought earlier and thrown into the freezer.  

I used this recipe from Taste of Home and I have to say that when they say the batter will be thick?  They are NOT kidding!  It was like scraping bread dough into the muffins cups almost.  I had to have my husband help me fold the blueberries into the dough it was so thick.  I was scared that the muffins would be too dense and not cook right, but while they did take the maximum amount of time the recipe called for, the muffins came out really tasty!  I definitely bookmarked the recipe for use later on.  I even found that my blueberry hating daughter liked the muffins, which shocked and thrilled me.

I froze half of the muffins for later use and my husband has been taking them, two at a time, into work with his lunch, so I'm probably going to have to keep my eyes open for more sales on blueberries :).

In other news, I'm completely in love with my USA pans that I bought.  I love having truly non-stick pans :).

2.  I got a knock at my door a few weeks ago and opened it to find another FEMA inspector.  I was kind of worried that we'd done something wrong until he explained that he was just doing quality control on the first inspector we'd had and it was quite normal.  I remembered the first inspector saying something to the same effect, so I, once again, walked the new inspector through all of the damage to the house.  Surprisingly, this new inspector took a lot more photos and was willing to go to different areas than the first.  I noticed he took a lot more in depth photos of the furnace and how it tied into the chimney and even had me walk him out onto our back deck and shoot the damage to the chimney up close.  

I got a call last Sunday from FEMA and found out that we actually qualified for more money and it was being processed.  My husband and I were thrilled and were hoping for even another hundred bucks as every penny helps right now.  I went online the next day to find that FEMA had given us another 900.00!  Between this money and the money FEMA gave us before my husband is going to demo the chimney himself and then see if a contractor friend of his that gave us a good quote on the work on the house will come in and help him put in the new chimney and build a fake wood facade around it.  

When we signed up for FEMA originally we were also required by the State of Alaska to sign up with the Small Business Association for a low cost loan for necessary repairs to the property.  What is nice about the SBA is that being linked to FEMA they also have access to the FEMA reports on the property and the inspection that the state did on the property as well and one morning a SBA loan officer walked me through all of the damages to the property including personal property loss and things.  The day after FEMA called and told me we were eligible for more funds, the SBA called and the loan officer I talked to told me that we were approved for a twenty something thousand dollar loan at 2% interest for a 30 year term period of repayment.  So, our payment every month on the money we are going to get is 88.00.  I think the weight of the world fell off my husband's and my shoulders at that point.  Yes, this will result in another payment we have to make every month and money is tight as is, BUT it will be a fixed interest rate loan and more importantly will give us access to enough funds to fix the house right.  We can get the gutters replaced, rebuild our retaining wall in the driveway, tear down the outbuildings (and figure out what to do about shed space afterwards), get a new door for the garage, get a new oven and things if needed (the oven still acts funny from time to time, but I'm giving it a while and seeing where the cards fall on that) and we'll have funds to do it.  You would not believe how much of a relief that is.

3.  A friend of mine gave me some old twin bedding and things.  It is definitely a blessing considering bedding is always at a premium around here and the other things were a blessing as well :).

4.  I have been working on my organization around here now that Spring is coming.  I think I have every cookbook I own out on my living room coffee table and went through and bookmarked all the recipes (breakfast, lunch and dinner) that I would like to try and then I'm hoping to design a nice looking blank menu that I can fill in with one daily menu at a time.  This way I can put up the menu on the fridge for what we'll be eating that day (thus no surprises for the family) and I'll have a instruction sheet (basically) on what to make.  By putting the menus on separate sheets of paper I can then put them into a binder if I find that we liked something or other for future use.  Will it work?  Who knows.  Many a system has failed for me over the years.  But, it is certainly worth a shot.

5.  I finally have come to the conclusion, after MANY years of looking at used furniture, that the only way I'm going to have to figure out linen cabinet space on my own.  I thought about it a lot and have come to the conclusion that I really do need cabinets with doors (the larder beetle infestation last year really hammered that note home) and I am going to have to buy in as anything at the used stores that will work for my purposes is as expensive (or in some cases more expensive) than just buying new and knowing it'll fit into the hole I need it to fit into.

After searching on Amazon a LOT over the last bit (none of the stores had anything that would suit my purposes, unfortunately), I found this cabinet (no associate link or anything, I'm just sharing), that I am hoping to save up to buy.  I don't know when I'll be able to get one with how the budget is and all of the repairs we have to do, but I think it'll look nice, give me some storage space AND most importantly, give me my china cabinet back to use for the purpose for which it was intended.  Speaking of that, I think what I'm going to do for now is to just put towels and bedding in Rubbermaid totes and put them stacked up in the hallway and go back to using my china cabinet for dishes and things.  Mainly because as a linen cabinet it just doesn't work so well (I'm constantly having to shove my arm around things and into tight spaces to get into the middle section where there isn't a door to get out sheets and things and with the glass shelves I worry about dislodging them and causing a huge collapse/mess).  

I would put it on my Amazon Prime card, but Amazon decided that my auto-renewal on my Amazon Prime should go onto my card and so I have more on the card than I was planning on (honestly I spaced that it was renewing this month with everything else that has been going on), so I am going to have my hands full the next few months paying that off.

6.  I did purchase one thing on Amazon this month.  A new comforter.  They had one on the daily deals and it was down to 24.95.  Since the ones I've found at the used stores immediately start to fall apart as soon as I get them and wash them (and I'll pay at least 1/2 of the price of the new one I just bought to get them in the first place), I am in desperate need of some queen sized comforters that aren't just dying on me.  So, I did put that on my Amazon card this month.  It is white, which is not ideal with how quickly Alvah can stain something, but I am hoping to have time in the next few months to make some duvet covers for it and thus save it from his wrath.  

7.  My vacuum cleaner was making a high pitched whistling sound, which was NOT a good sign.  I went online and troubleshot the problem and found that it was probably the fan needing to be replaced.  I immediately ordered a new fan assembly (yay for Kirby parts being available through Amazon as our local Kirby store shut down and I'd have to drive into Anchorage and pay out the nose to get the part I needed) from Amazon for 11.00 and some change and got it in last week.  My timing, it turns out, could not have been better as I made the mistake of sucking up a pretzel, heard a horrible noise come from the vacuum and immediately smelt something burning.  Since I had just cleaned everything I could reach, I knew it was the fan, so I pulled out my parts yesterday, pulled up a tutorial on YouTube (which I am so happy so many self help tutorials are available to help walk you through these things anymore :) and got to work.  Two hours later with some new injuries to my hands from jamming things under finger nails that I couldn't see and things (and thanking God my husband had sealing compound in the garage for me to use to help reseal the fan assembly to the vacuum cleaner) and the vacuum cleaner is running as good as new.  I'm proud of myself, I'll admit it, as mechanically inclined and me are usually not in the same sentence.

8.  Speaking of things breaking our living room TV just out and out died last week.  Thank GOD it was after Spring Break as not having a TV with the son home for the week would have been awful.  My husband is thinking the power supply on the TV went and is going to see what he can do to repair it, but in the meantime he dug out an old TV we had that doesn't work great, but it DOES work, and set it up in the living room.  It'll hopefully live until the husband can fix the other one (it's iffy the way it has been acting as it keeps crashing and things), but at least it's a temporary solution until we can figure out what we need to do next.

9.  I got my laundry room deep cleaned this week.  Since the earthquake things have been so insanely hectic that I hadn't had a chance to really go over the room and disinfect the floor and things so I did that this week.  I want to get the entryway part of the pantry completely cleaned out and mop the floors and deep clean everything to get whatever jelly and things didn't get cleaned up on the initial cleaning job so that bugs aren't going to be a problem now that break up seems to be coming fast, so hopefully I can get to that this week.

10.  Grocery shopping was over budget this week.  It couldn't be avoided, really.  I needed flour as I was nearly out, I had some really good sale prices on meat (and found a bunch of meat 30% off on top of the discounts I had) and I had to replenish the son's food stores as he BLEW through food and things last week.  So, I'm hoping to cut the grocery budget this week (it's pay week so we'll see how that goes as it's usually my "stock up" weeks when we get paid) and recoup the budget a bit.

11.  We found out that Payless Shoes is going out of business everywhere.  Since this was the one store where I could go locally and get decent priced shoes for the kids, we ran up there this week (Alvah's winter boots were also way too small for him, which thank Goodness his teacher caught that as I spaced it with how insane winter was this year), used the shoe sized measuring tool to measure out the kid's feet to see what they would be in adult sizes (especially Alvah as he's really tall for his age) for reference later and we got the son some winter boots, some new gym shoes (which his old ones were also too small for him now) and got the daughter sneakers in the next size up and some dark dress shoes.  We spent more than I would have liked, but we got good value for our money for sure and at least I'm a BIT better prepared for the store closing down now.  I'm still going to miss being able to get the kids shoes for under 50.00 a pop, though.

12.  I had a lot of clothes die on me of late.  T-shirts and pajamas, sweatshirts, you name it, just started to disintegrate on me to epic degrees.  Now mind you most of those things I have been wearing since high school or college, so I really couldn't complain about them finally giving up the ghost, but it was still depressing.  I found that my favorite used store had a certain tag of clothes 50% off this week, so I went in and got a bunch of shirts and a couple of nightgowns and a new robe for myself.  Spent more, once again, than I would have liked, but I comforted myself that I walked out with two bags of clothes for the same price that two shirts would have cost me new at another store.

And there you have it folks.  The last couple of weeks in a nutshell around here.  How about you?  How did you do?

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Shopping Goals: March, 2019

Frugal Friday is postponed till Monday as I don't have too much to report at this point so am hoping to get more done today and tomorrow to pad out the like four item list I have at the moment.  

Okay, so the month is over 1/2 over and I'm just getting to posting the shopping goals, but better late than never.

It honestly took me a while to figure out the shopping goals for this month, mainly due to money and trying to make money stretch, but at the same time making sure I could stock up on things we would definitely use or needed.  It's kind of a "don't bite off your nose to spite your face" type of situation as it does mean less money in the bank to stock up on things, but if you don't take advantage of sales on things you know you'll use or need you will end up out more money in the long run.  So, it was a matter of sitting there with a calculator, a lot of thinking and working on the budget a lot this month to figure out how to get a few things while trying to save every penny I could to put toward earthquake repairs we need to make.

I did want to post up a quick update to how the food storage situation is going.  I have managed to weasel money out of the shopping budget the last bit to get at least one number ten can of food storage each month.  In January I got the can of chicken gravy and the can of basically redi-whip for the 25.00 per month I allotted myself.  Last month I didn't spend the full 25.00, but did manage to get a #10 can of pilot bread (basically hard tack, a really dense cracker type of bread that Alaskans generally love for it's long shelf life...the canned pilot bread is more cracker like from the reviews I read, but it was still worth it in my mind to get it for a kind of bread to add to storage that the bugs and mice couldn't get into).  I then took 50.00 out of our tax return (really the ONLY money I used for household stuff...the rest went toward bills) and got some cans of food storage that were going cheap on Amazon.  I got a #10 can of beef Stroganoff (made with freeze dried beef no less), a #10 can of Mountain House Chicken and Rice and a #10 can of honey powder.  I was hoping to get another can or two of food storage this month, but the money just isn't in the budget, but I'm not too upset as I got three cans of extra food storage last month.  Basically, I'm getting a stock pile up.  Slowly, very slowly, but surely.

For those curious, here are the links to the food storage I got the last little bit (the chicken and rice isn't as cheap as I got it, as I got it for 12.99, but it's still decently cheap).  The following contains affiliate links by the way.  This means if you order through the following links I'll get a small commission from Amazon for shooting the sale their way.  Just full disclosure here even if you don't order the item you click on with the following links, say you look at it and go "meh" and move on and order other things through Amazon, so long as you order while in the window the associate link opens I'll get a small commission on other items you order (hope that makes sense), so if you don't want to support the site, but still want to shop on Amazon, be sure to close out the window from the associate links, open a brand new window and start your shopping over again.  It costs you no extra money for ordering through these links and if you do order through the links, I really do appreciate your support.  Thanks!
Right, so let's get down to the things I want and or need to buy this month.  Here's hoping I can get it all done :).

General Stores:
  • Cooking Oil (I have a few more jugs left, but I like to have extra in the house as I do go through it when I bake pretty fast)
  • Fruit (fruit is finally coming into season and we are all loving it when I can get it decently cheap, so I'm hoping to continue to find money to buy extra produce when I go shopping...we need the added nutrition)
  • Corned Beef (I actually got two of these this week as they were on sale for 2.99 lb with an in-ad coupon at Carrs and then I had a coupon loaded to make them even cheaper.  I'm hoping to get a couple more before the sales go off for the year as I do like having them in the freezer for later points in the year)
  • Cabbage (got that this week to go with the corned beef)
  • Red Potatoes (got those this week too as cabbage and potatoes were on sale for .78 lb)
  • Shampoo
  • All Purpose Flour (I am hoping to get a bulk bag at Three Bears later on, but for now I'll probably just get about 10 lbs of flour at the regular store to see me through) (the following contains affiliate links):
  • Blank Accounting Ledger (I got one of these in this month for general household use, but want to order a few more to keep track of the different disaster relief things we have going on so I'll basically have different accounts for each item we need to get done).
  • phone filters  We had a phone filter fail in the phone downstairs and then we want to put in a phone line into the den to hook up another corded phone, so I ordered a two pack of phone filters when I went to replace the one.
  • Kirby Fan Assembly My vacuum started making a high pitched whistling sound a while back.  I replaced the gasket thinking that might be it, but it's still there.  I troubleshooted it on the internet and people suggested checking the fan assembly and my fan is giving "worn" a good name.  Our local Kirby store in the Valley shut down (I least their storefront is gone and their phone number is disconnected, so I'm going with shut down at this point), so instead of going into Anchorage and paying goodness knows how much for the parts, we ordered them online instead. 

Appliance Repair Store:
  • Temperature gauge for oven.  We already got this done and I am happy to say I now have an oven that works!  A 50.00 part was a lot cheaper than a new oven for sure.  Hopefully that's the end of the oven issues for a while :).
And there you go folks.  My shopping goals for this month.  How about you?  Need to get anything this month?

Monday, March 11, 2019

Money Saving Monday: Money Saving Weekly Recap

Okay, so I didn't make Frugal Friday again.  In this case, though, I definitely had a couple of good reasons.  One was kids being home sick, again, my daughter with an allergic reaction to something that made her eye swell up on her and just this virus that won't let go making the poor son (not to mention my husband and myself) miserable.  Next up was FEMA stuff.  My husband and I managed to, thank goodness, make it to the FEMA location closest to us on Thursday when the kids were in school (like the only day last week where both of the kids were well enough to go to school) and we spent all morning pretty much applying for FEMA assistance and getting a low interest loan through the Small Business Association into the works (they work hand in hand with FEMA to make very low interest loans available to people in a disaster so you can fix things and such without having to deal with credit card interest rates and things).  Thursday afternoon (I kid you not) I was out picking up the kids from school and my husband got a phone call from the FEMA inspector saying he would be here on Saturday to inspect the house.

Friday rolls around and the SBA gave me a call first thing and walked through the damage over the phone with me so they could get the application progressed for the loan and then I spent the rest of Friday working to get the house in order for the inspector to come on Saturday so he'd have clear view of things that he needed to look at.  Saturday morning we got the FEMA inspection done and my husband went to the doctor as his asthma has been flared terribly by this cold virus and he was having some major problems breathing (he ended up with a new inhaler, prednisone and a cough suppressant out of the deal) .  Yesterday we spent trouble shooting the oven to try and see what was wrong with it (my husband narrowed it down to it's either the temperature sensor, which we're going to replace first, or something major, so we'll see how that goes) and this morning I got online to find we'd been approved by FEMA already for about 3000.00.  Not as much as we were hoping for as that's going to make replacing the chimney tight to fit into that budget (hopefully it will somehow be possible at any rate), but at the same time we're grateful we got anything at this point.  Something is certainly better than nothing and every penny we receive is one less penny we have to spend out of pocket to get back on our feet.  So, at this point, at least all inspectors have seen the chimney that will need to see it and we can finally start moving forward to replace and/or fix things and get the house back up and running normally again.

So, yeah that brings you up to date on general life stuff that has been going on since my last post, so let's get to getting caught up on the frugal front for the last two weeks or so.

1.  The son got to go on his yearly ski trip again this year.  The ski trip is through Challenge Alaska that is run by volunteers to help the kids ski and things.  Alvah was coming down with my nasty cold virus that day (we didn't really know it at the time) so he was grumpy on and off, but the husband said he had some fun at least.

When they brought up the upcoming ski trip the son's teacher asked parents to maybe donate some food for the trip as the teachers who were in on the ski trip thought it would be nice to feed the volunteers at the ski lodge.  I wasn't sure what I was going to do on that one as we didn't really have a lot of ready made food in the house and I was still feeling pretty cruddy and didn't want to bake something special.  But an opportunity presented itself to make my life easier.

I was visiting the Carrs/Safeway Just4U site randomly one day to see what new coupons might be available and found one for a free thing of sesame rice crackers.  I had to pick up prescriptions for the son the Friday before the trip (while running a bunch of other errands), so while I was waiting I ran and picked up the free crackers and sent those with the husband and son on the trip.

Earlier that same Friday my husband and I did some errand running.  I stopped off at the Franz outlet to see if I could get some cheap hamburger or hot dog buns for the son to eat and I found a huge bag of hamburger buns for 1.66, so I picked those up.  Those lasted the son quite a while, so I was happy with that purchase for sure.

I got a bunch of freebies the last couple of weeks for things that I needed or could use and I was ever so grateful for it.

First up I was super happy to find that Carrs had a bunch of different gas reward bonus coupons last week for grocery shopping.  They had a 2x gas rewards coupon you could load onto your card and then they offered me 4 gas rewards if I spent more than 100.00 in a shopping trip (which was inevitable when I do two weeks of shopping at one time) and then I had 2x gas rewards for a bunch of different purchases from a bunch of different departments.

By stacking the coupons carefully I was able to use some rewards for two free boxes of pasta, redeemed one reward for a free thing of ice cream and I STILL had 10 gas rewards by the end of it to get 1.00 off per gallon of gas.   I was a happy camper for sure.  While checking out a lady offered me a printed off coupon from the register for a free thing of orange juice as she wasn't going to use it and I got that as well.

My friend Facebooked me and told me she was sending me some coupons and I was thrilled with what she sent me.  She sent me a coupon for three free things of wet cat food and a coupon for a free bag of dry cat food and she gave me a coupon for a free 24 pack of bottled water.  I needed ALL of that, so I was very, very grateful to get those.

I ended up back at the store later to get more milk, so while there I redeemed the print coupons I had from the Monopoly game for free products.  I got two free bagels, a free box of water crackers, a free Refreshe Ice beverage and a free block of cream cheese (cream cheese not shown as I forgot to include it in the photo).  I have found that this Monopoly game the printed free coupons are just not very abundant, but I'm grateful for what I've gotten between the online code redemption and the printed free coupons.  I went and redeemed all of the codes I had today (which was a huge pile of codes to input) and am just saving all of the points I get to see if I can get up enough for some grocery gift cards before the sweepstakes ends.

Also last week I ended up picking up meat as Carrs gave me some awesome personalized prices on it.  I got some bottom round beef roasts for 3.88 lb (I know I'll have to cook those to death to make them tender, but still totally worth it at that price), hamburger for 2.87 lb (which the two huge value packs I bought aren't shown as I didn't have room on the counter at the time to include them) and pork loin chops for 1.47 lb.  The pork chops were an especially cheap find as I found a value pack on reduced for 50% off on top of that price so I got a huge package of pork chops for little over 2.00.

I also picked up a bunch of fresh produce cheap as well.  I had a cheap personalized price on bananas, so I got some of those (seen in the pick above there), had a cheap personalized price on grapes and blueberries (which I got some of each) and I went shopping on 5.00 Friday so I was able to get a cantaloupe for 2.50 as they were on sale for 2 for 5.00 as part of the sale.  It was a good week for grocery shopping for sure :).

Right and I think that pretty much gets us up to date on the grocery shopping front, so let's move onto other things.

2.  When I was cleaning for the FEMA inspector, I looked at the couch in the den and realized that the slip covers I'd made for the couch cushions were breaking down and looking pretty awful.  I didn't really expect the slip covers to last, honestly, as the material I had used was pretty thin stuff, but I tried to think of a quick fix to make the couch look better.  I then had a thought and went and grabbed a twin sized fitted sheet I had in my fabric stores (I had liked the sheet color as a potential fabric to use in a quilt) and just tucked in the couch cushions like you would a twin sized mattress.  It worked really well, actually, and made the couch look ten times better than it did.

I started thinking about it and I might look at the used stores for different colors of fitted sheet to change out on the couch for new decor options and things.  Since I can get a fitted sheet for like 2.00 it's a pretty inexpensive way to do things.  I don't know how well this would work on a piece of furniture that you might use a lot as I'd think the sheet might shift around too much, but for a couch we don't really use very much I think it'll work just fine.

3.  Our cat scratching posts were looking terrible as the cats had managed to unravel the jute rope that was wound around the pillars from scratching it so much.  I looked at the scratching posts and realized that they had just hot glued the rope to the posts and then looking at the way the rope was wound and where it had broken, I didn't even bother to reglue the rope.  Instead I took the rope, wound it both ways around the posts and then tied it tightly into place instead.  It worked really well and the posts look SO much better for the 20 minutes or so of effort :).

4.  I emptied the material out of my sewing cabinet and stored it in a few Rubbermaid totes I had around the house and in a few other areas.  I then took one of the shelves that had come with the cabinet and put it back in and then reorganized everything and put office supplies in the cabinet.  I am hoping to drill a hole in the cabinet so I can fit a power strip in it and then I can put the tablets in there to recharge at night and maybe even store my laptop in there.  I'd love for things to be nice and tidy and put up at night, but we'll see how it goes.  Overall, I was happy with how the reorganizing went there.

5.  Speaking of which by putting the office supplies in the cabinet I was able to make the space around my desk look a LOT less cluttered and nasty.  I took the printer and put it on the bottom shelf of the shelves I had by the desk and then put some unbleached muslin on top of the shelf as kind of a tablecloth.  I probably should have tried for a bit better look to the cover, but I was happy with it as I'm hoping it'll act as a dust cover for the printer, which will help me to keep the printer clean and in good shape.  The bottom shelf allows enough space that I'll be able to run it on the bottom shelf as well, which will be nice having it out of sight when not in use.  \

While neatening and cleaning the last couple of weeks (I'm getting started on massive amounts of Spring cleaning) I went through my desk and got rid of a TON of old bills and things that, as anyone knows, can just start to pile up on you, and organized things a lot better.  Like I have artwork the kids did going back to preschool and I wanted to keep it, but wasn't really keen on keeping it all in my desk (as there is a lot of it), so I ended up storing a bunch of it in the plastic drawers you see in the sewing cabinet.  That way it's protected AND I get some of my desk drawers back.  Win, win.

6.  I cleaned out the bottom shelves of my china cabinet and got rid of everything that broke in the quake.  I then started cleaning and decluttering the top cabinet.  It's still a work in progress, but I'm happy with it so far.

7.  I redeemed rewards on my Amazon store card to get some money off of my bill (which I then paid off the remainder of the balance afterwards).

8.  I watched a free webinar on eczema that I'd been trying to find time to watch for a while.

I'm sure there is more, but I lost my list I'd been keeping track of things on, so I'm going to call it good there.  Despite being sick still I've definitely been busy around here and it feels good to get stuff done.  I hope you all are getting things accomplished as well :).

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Monthly Goals: March, 2019

First, the usual Frugal recap post is just going to get delayed until Friday so I can just try and get back onto an even keel and get back to a more normal blogging schedule.  I hope.

The last couple of weeks have been a mix with a lot of bad mixed into it.  The good was getting the tax return in and it was in the bank for nearly a day.  We got a couple of bills paid off that we'd accumulated in the earthquake (paid off the husband's credit card and the Sears card) and I was hoping to either cash out the husband's teeth with the other part, or at least make a good payment onto the amount and the back up plan was to keep the money in savings in case we needed it for car repairs or something. 

And then the bad stuff hit.

My dad would say it comes in threes, but it seems the last bit we break that record. 

First, I called our electric company to try and figure out a new budget billing amount because running the electric heat had thrown our normal electric budget into a tizzy.  They did the calculations on their end and recommended that I turn off budget billing for a year and redo it after getting the chimney fixed as our budget billing amount per month right NOW is over 600.00 a month if they recalculated it.  If I turn off budget billing my bill is averaging at least 600.00 a month as well.  They had no ideas on how to do payments to make the billing more reasonable, so I ended up using a good chunk of our tax return to pay off the now deferred amount on the account which at least buys me time till the end of the this month to try and figure out what to do.  It's a miracle I have a stomach lining left.

I was hoping that maybe the disaster assistance would come through and we could quickly get a new chimney put in, but I found out this week that FEMA finally got their collective tails in gear and came up here at the beginning of last month and are now in the Valley having people sign up for FEMA assistance for the earthquake.  By FEMA coming up here it screws everything up on my end because FEMA trumps state assistance, so I have to now go and apply with FEMA, wait for FEMA assistance to come through (which can take a LONG time from what I understand) and anything they don't cover the state will pick up as a kind of disaster safety net.  So, basically we're going to have to go down and do everything again to apply with FEMA and start the disaster assistance process all over again. 

Basically, I can't wait for FEMA to come through, or whatever assistance there will be, to get the chimney fixed or I'll go bankrupt trying to pay the electric bill and keep the trains running on time.  I have enough in savings to last us hopefully till Spring (IF we get an early Spring and it's a mild weathered one *fingers crossed*), but still...something needs to happen here.  So, we're going to have to try and get the chimney replaced quickly and as cheaply as we can.  The husband and the entire family caught my awful cold virus and so my husband has been down nearly a week and a half feeling awful with this thing, the son was home sick from school all last week and was home again sick today and now the daughter is coming down with it, and so far, as a result, nothing has gotten done toward that goal.    Somehow I have to get to the FEMA sign up place with the husband before filing ends on April 1st, not to mention I need him to help me figure out how to get a new chimney put in, so I KIND of need us all to remain in healthy and fit condition for a little while.  So I'm praying that we'll all recover miraculously here very soon. 

All the while I'm also in a battle with our local hospital over my urgent care visit back in October as after insurance paid them they owe me 100.00 back and I've been on the phone constantly since January trying to get SOMEONE to issue me the check I'm owed.  They screwed up booking the insurance payment into the system when it came in back at the beginning of January and posted me as paying in full in January (when I paid the full amount back in October) and they just have my 100.00 credit just sitting in the account with no note on getting the money back to me.  The last gal I actually talked to before today actually treated me like I was trying to rip the hospital off and acted like I wasn't entitled to anything back at all, which I ended up talking in very angry tones by the end of the conversation.  Since then I have talked to voice mails and no one calls me back, so today I called and asked to talk to the head supervisor.  I ended up talking to the supervisor of billing for the entire hospital, which doesn't actually handle the urgent care billing (I know, it's screwy), but she e-mailed the two supervisors in charge of the urgent care billing, told them what was going on with me and requested they issue me a refund or an inquiry could be filed.  I was very thankful she'd done that for me as I'm just so frustrated and just want the money I'm owed.  We could certainly use the money.

I've had other side stuff going on around here with getting paperwork filled out for different things and stuff as well, which I'll go into more on other posts I'm sure, but's been busy. 

And then last night my oven stopped working even close to right.  All I did was change the temp on the oven to a higher degree to finish off some steaks in the oven and the oven just stopped calling for heat.  So, I have steaks that are nearly raw in the middle (I should have tried to finish them off on the stove top, but was so upset at the oven my mind quit working I was so upset) in the fridge where they'll be turned into thin sliced beef and cooked in some au jus on the stove top so we can have French dip sandwiches tonight.  Today, after giving the oven plenty of time to (hopefully) reset, I set the oven to preheat to 350 degrees and put an oven thermometer in to monitor how well it did.  And the oven quit at about 225 degrees...on preheat.  Not a good sign.  The husband is going to look up the manual on the oven and try to figure out what could be wrong with it, but goodness knows how much this is going to cost to repair or even replace.  At least I got the dishwasher paid off *deep sigh*.  One step forward and a marathon run backwards, it seems, is the story of my life.  Ugh.  Sorry.  That sounds way too self pitying.  How about "Trials through adversity seems to be the story of my life."  It sounds a bit better I suppose, so let's go with that.

Anyway, that's been my life the last two weeks on the "argh" end of things and it also helped to explain a lot of my goals for this month (not a subtle transition, but I have a headache today, so please bear with me here), so let's get to all of that, shall we?

Goals for March, 2019

1.  Sign up for FEMA disaster assistance. 
2.  Call husband's general contractor friends and get quotes on what replacing the chimney would cost (never hurts to get numbers from a bunch of people). 
3.  Fix cat scratching posts (they are looking bad and coming unwound, so I'm going to see what I can do to repair them). 
4.  Clean den. 
5.  Gut sewing cabinet and weed out what can be put into storage for the time being.  Put shelves into top of sewing cabinet and redo entirely to hold office materials (we desperately need a place to put everything that can be closed up). 
6.  Clean out the bottom cabinets on the china cabinet.  Get rid of broken items and broken glass from earthquake (one of the last things I need to really deep clean).  Put in new metal shelf brackets for glass shelves in china cabinet so they are more secure and reorganize the china cabinet so it looks nicer. 
7.  Fix or replace oven. 
8.  Hopefully get chimney replaced and if not have a good plan to get it done ASAP, if not sooner. 
9.  Start getting some Spring cleaning done. 
10.  Get well and stay well!!!! 
11.  Get refund check issued from hospital one way or the other.

And there you go folks.  My goals for this month.  There's a lot to do, not a lot of energy to get it done with and limited time to get it done in.

How about you?  Got anything you have to get done this month?